SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
San Diego State redshirt freshman Jalen McDaniels has announced, via his Twitter account, that he will be declaring for the 2018 NBA Draft, with Mark Zeigler confirming the declaration. However, he has chosen not to hire an agent, meaning that he can return to college if he so desires.
This is a good way for a college athlete to gain some evaluation in front of NBA scouts and executives to find any sort of holes or weakness in his game while keeping college eligibility.
Malik Pope used the same tactic when he was deciding whether or not he wanted to forego his college eligibility, but the feedback he received helped him make the decision to stay with the Aztecs.
It is not a surprise that McDaniels is declaring for the Draft after a season where he rose off the bench and swiped a starting role away from senior Kameron Rooks. The former four-star recruit averaged 24 minutes a game, while also averaging 10.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 0.9 assists. The forward had nine double-doubles on the year (meaning he posted double-digit numbers in two out of the three offensive categories in either points, rebounds, or assists), including one against #22 Nevada in the semi-finals of the Mountain West Tournament, where he posted 17 points, four assists, and 12 rebounds.
Many NBA scouts may have had their eyes opened to him after his performance against sixth-seeded Houston in the NCAA Tournament where, despite getting into foul trouble, he helped stage a dramatic comeback by making clutch free throws and making strong defensive stops while scoring 18 points and grabbing nine rebounds.
— j ? (@jalenmcdaniels5) March 19, 2018
For him to do this in the NCAA Tournament as a freshman signifies his maturity and ability to stay calm under pressure, which many NBA scouts love.
However, this does not mean that he is a guarantee to leave SDSU. Because he didn’t sign with an agent, NCAA rules state that a player can retain his college eligibility while testing the NBA waters. Additionally, a player has until 10 days after the NBA Combine to withdraw his name from the Draft if he wants to return to college. This is a good way for young basketball players to gain free evaluation on their basketball skills and get advice from NBA evaluators and scouts while keeping college eligibility. With the NBA Combine set to end May 20th at Barclays Center in New York, McDaniels will have 10 days after that to decide what he wants to do.
SDSU confirms redshirt freshman Jalen McDaniels will declare for 2018 NBA Draft but not hire agent, meaning he could return to college ball.
— Mark Zeigler (@sdutzeigler) March 19, 2018
McDaniels will undoubtedly be looking for evaluation and advice on where he can upgrade his game. While he is strongest in the paint and taking short jump shots, McDaniels will most likely be told to work on his three-point shot as he shot only a .211 three-point percentage. He will most likely be asked to gain muscle as well, as while he may be 6-foot-10, he weighs 195 pounds and is very lanky (using the word generously). It is probable that we see McDaniels take the same route that Pope took before him in getting some work in front of NBA scouts and returning to don the Red and Black. If this was the last time we get to see McDaniels at Viejas Arena, we wish him the best in his future,